Sunday, 5 February 2012


Amidst the whinging verbiage and sesquipedalian vernacular that form these accounts of my quotidian existence, I am all too aware of my penchant to portray myself as somehow victimised by life, worthy of the wider worlds’ cherished pity. This would be an audacious fallacy, and I feel I should make the effort to redress this self-portrait as fate’s most humiliated subordinate.

Surely that opening sentence alone is proof enough that I deserve to choke on my own tongue.

The most pressing example is my fondness for attributing my failure with women to their ill-judgement or simply my general incompatibility with the world at large. The truth is that I have inflicted enough regretful romantic hurt to earn a lifetime of sucker-punches from karma’s vengeful fist.

The incident I regret perhaps most keenly is my first, and so far only, blind date. I was 13 years old, and out of school on work experience. During this time I became involved in text message communication with a girl named Kerry whom my friend had met as a result of his own work experience. I knew precious little about her, good or bad. The good: she was a real human female inexplicably interested in me; she didn’t baulk at my awkward conversational gambits; I suffered a thundering erection each and every time my phone signalled the arrival of a fresh message. The bad: she was fat.

A frequent assumption during my teenage years was that, as an obese shapeless sack of meat, I should be exclusively attracted to women of the larger persuasion. What the proponents of this theory neglected to recognise was that the depth of my personality roughly equated to a second-hand condom discarded in the drain of a public shower. A shallowness which, despite my half-hearted efforts, has largely persisted to this day.

At the time, however, I simply could not conceive of a human being more grotesquely engorged than myself. I was the outsized monster rampaging through nursery schools greedily gobbling the fleeing infants while carers jabbed fruitlessly at me with cattle prods. I was the repulsive proliferating lard on the brink of swallowing Neo-Tokyo entire in Akira. Kerry simply had to be slimmer than me. A person larger would long ago have been harried by torch-wielding villagers and mounted in the atrium of the British Museum.

We shortly agreed to meet at a local town hall not far from my house. I instructed her to identify me by my ‘rat nest hair,’ a description which several years in the employ of a pet shop taught me was rather unfair to rats.

Kerry had arrived first. She waited with a friend, but it was quite clear which girl I was there to meet. A description here would inevitably be unkind. It is quite enough to say that she offended by impossibly idealised margin of error.

A good person would not have laid on a rigid poker face and kept walking. A good person would not have turned away from the nervous, hopeful smile on Kerry’s face. A good person would not have ducked into a nearby shop in order to double-check that a more pleasing girl had not somehow been overlooked, before escaping down a side street. I am not a good person.

In the following days I resolutely blanked a barrage of phone calls and text messages. My answer, when I did finally summon the decency, is forgotten to me. I’m sure it did not resemble the simple despicable truth that I considered her too fat.

11 years have done remarkably little to dull the shame I feel for my actions that day. It is only the lack of any information beyond her forename that prevents me, despite the likelihood of my being a mere footnote in a chequered romantic history, from scouring the internet and falling at Kerry’s feet in apology.

The impulse to apologise for my past strikes me at the oddest of times, like an acid casualty enslaved by chemical flashbacks. During the most everyday of tasks I will suddenly regret with fierce acuity my failure to walk a dear friend home one dark night after watching a horror movie together; the time I revealed my friend’s birthday to everyone at school so that they beat him mercilessly to the brink of tears; not coming home enough when my dad was ill.

And I wonder if it’s unhealthy for these bygone misdeeds, no doubt trivialised or forgotten by time, to trouble me so sharply, like tattoos inked forever on my skin. Perhaps it is a futile obsession with redemption that prevents me from recognising such blemishes as ineluctable thistles that snag our clothes on life’s journey. Should we be allowed to pick them off under the binding keystone adage, we all make mistakes? Or is it important to remember them so that, as cod-philosophers and stuffy history teachers the world over will po-facedly proclaim, we should not repeat them?   


  1. I am moved to deep and profound contemplation by your article. I don't know if you want advice, and I can tell what I am addressing is part of your voice, but why do you always put explicit language in your writing? (ex. calling yourself a c**t)After reading the entire piece, it just doesn't fit. If I were to cut one sentence in order to improve the entire work, it would be that sentence. It isn't necessary and I think it detracts from your message. I do say all this while realizing I am taking probably too much liberty to speak and ignoring your obvious desire and tendency to self-deprecate and be sensational.#MyTwoCents

    1. I have an overwhelming fondness for a well-deployed swear word. I never understood quite why they cause such offence is used effectively. Perhaps it's a British thing? And yes, I like to use extremes in my quest for self-deprecation.

      However, on this occasion, I agree with you. It was not a well-deployed swear. So that example has been removed. I can't promise I won't use it in future though!

    2. I am quite flattered that you took my suggestion to heart and looked at it again. I do have to say I don't typically read things with so much swearing, but I like your writing voice, so I try to not get too shocked! :)

  2. Independent thinking and genuine voice. I like your writing style and the authenticity of it.

    I'm following your blog and twitter and look forward to read more about your experiences.


  3. Thank you very much! I'm now following yours too.